The Great Escape: 2011 Festival Preview [Thursday]

on Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Words: Saam Das

Back in 2006, not long after this blog started, I ventured down to Brighton for the first ever Great Escape festival. With over 100 bands appearing over three days, I caught acts like The Spinto Band, The Young Knives and Tapes n Tapes all in relatively tiny venues. Now, the festival's much bigger and I'm heading back.

One of the biggest problems of the first festival was the lack of bands during the day. That's very much changed and now over 300 acts are spread out from afternoon through to early morning on each day. Almost too much of a good thing.

I'm going to highlight a selection of bands that I think are worth checking out on Thursday 12th May, followed by two more previews for the Friday and Saturday. Be sure to check stage times and venues, in case they change. And if you have a delegate pass then there are plenty of talks to attend also.

- Fight Like Apes (20.00, Coalition)

If you've never seen Fight Like Apes, prepare yourself for incredible, madcap synth-punk-pop. One of the most exciting live acts around. Watch out for japery and brilliant tunes. If there's one band to see out of all my recommendations, it's this one.

- PS I Love You (14.00, Life + 20.45, Hectors House and Fri, Prince Albert, 12.30 + Fri, Shipwrights Yard, 16.40)

PS I Love You - 2012 by H+ Records

A Canadian duo with a penchant for lo-fi but also an understanding that lo-fi doesn't just have to mean unlistenable noise. They actually realise the importance of melody. Although the one with the ridiculous beard really needs to have a word with himself.

- Worship (21.45, Life)

Worship - Collateral by A Future Animal

I've been meaning to write about this Reading lot for a long time now (I commented on this Breaking More Waves post over a year ago) but I expected them to have exploded now. Not too dissimilar to past Surfacing alumni Duologue, they present atmospheric, Radiohead-esque soundscapes.

- Foster The People (20.45, The Haunt and Sat, 20.45, Coalition)

Houdini by Foster The People

One of the most hyped bands at the start of the year, their buzz seems to have died down somewhere. But with the pressure off, their summery indie-pop should go down a treat. 'Pumped Up Kicks' is one of my favourite songs of the year. Bringing a bit of Californian sunshine to Brighton.

- Young British Artists (20.45, Jam)

Young British Artists - Million Miles by Red Deer Club Recordings

My wildcard choice. These Mancunians have been on my radar for a while but I've never been massively sure about them. Generic indie-rock or something special? It's a fine line. I think Young British Artists might have something about them though.

- Charli XCX (01.00, Coalition)

Charli XCX & Viv Albertine (The Slits) - Train In Vain by StevenWeston

Possibly a divisive suggestion. Made an impression way back in 2008 when she was just fifteen but only now coming to fruition. Pervasive electro pop. I'm pretty sure she's on during the early hours of Friday - although you definitely should check this stage time as it might actually be the early hours of Saturday. And that would be an embarrassing mistake.

I'm not entirely sure what exactly the "Alternative Escape" is but there a few showcases that I think are worth checking out on the Thursday.

- Pink Mist showcase at The Hydrant, featuring Tall Ships and Hold Your Horse Is
- Recharged Radio showcase at Latest Music Bar featuring The Last Dinosaur and Beau & The Arrows
- Ninja Tune/Big Dada showcase at The Loft featuring Paris Suit Yourself and DELS

These bands which I've featured before are also playing on Thursday, and pretty much have my stamp of approval. If you're in clash central then maybe it'll help you choose, maybe not.

Big Deal
Dog Is Dead (also on Friday) + Dry The River (also on Saturday) + Dutch Uncles
Gang Gang Dance + Grouplove
Marina Gasolina (also on Friday)
Paper Crows + PVT
Sissy & The Blisters
To The Bones + Trophy Wife
The History Of Apple Pie + The Joy Formidable

More previews to come in the next 24 hours or so. Hopefully.

For further info, head to Click for all our coverage of The Great Escape.

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